Poached salmon with watercress

8 quick and healthy recipes

by Great British Chefs 9 January 2018

On the hunt for healthy dinner ideas? We’ve pulled together eight of our favourite quick and healthy recipes – from fridge to table in half an hour or less – thanks to our esteemed chefs and food writers.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

You didn’t sleep well last night. It’s been a long day at work. Your train home is delayed. It’s raining and you left your umbrella at the office. You finally stumble through the front door, and you realise you still have to sort out some dinner for yourself. The last thing you want to do is start rattling pots and pans around, but you promised yourself you’d stop ordering from the local takeaway. Never fear – we have you covered, with some delicious, quick, easy and healthy recipe ideas.

All of these recipes can be on the table inside half an hour, so there’s really no excuse to be reaching for the Yellow Pages. And you can find lots more quick meal ideas or healthy recipes by following the links!

1. Tenderstem broccoli with black garlic, poppy seeds and olive dressing

This is the sort of recipe that characterises Anna Hansen’s food at The Modern Pantry – smart flavour combinations built around fantastic fresh produce. This dish relies on the greenery being at its very best – Anna uses Tenderstem broccoli, but feel free to substitute for something else similar and seasonal. She whips up a sweet dressing with olives, black garlic, pomegranate molasses and muscat wine vinegar, blanches her broccoli and finishes the dish with a scattering of earthy hazelnuts and some crisp endive.

2. Cold cucumber and shirataki noodle salad with hot Sichuan sesame dressing

The beauty of Shu Han Lee’s speedy Sichuan salad is all in the dressing – a punchy mix of garlic, soy, black rice vinegar, creamy tahini and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. Black rice vinegar is readily available from specialist Asian food stores but don’t fret if you don’t have any, you can substitute it with rice vinegar easily enough. Best of all, this salad doesn’t even require a pan – just make the dressing, slice up your veggies and toss it all together.

3. Poached salmon with watercress

Like much of Tom Aikens’ cookery, there’s lots more to this humble looking bowl of salmon, egg and watercress than meets the eye. Whilst many of us would be happy poaching or steaming salmon in water or a court bouillon, Tom’s poaching liquor uses thirteen different ingredients to coax a new level of flavour out of his organic salmon fillets. The salmon is the star of the show – soft and yielding – but the dressed watercress and boiled eggs are important accompaniments to this surprisingly elegant dish.

4. Thai beef salad

Andrew MacKenzie’s Thai beef salad is a brilliant way to use up any leftover roast beef you might have – perfect for a dreary Monday evening. It’s a simple mix of fresh julienned vegetables, stir-fried strips of beef and rice noodles, tossed liberally in a soy, brown sugar and lime dressing. Scatter some fresh herbs over the top, grab your favourite pair of chopsticks and devour.

5. Wild garlic, courgette and pine nuts with whole wheat fusilli

If you love pasta, Rosana McPhee’s veggie pasta dish will quickly become a mid-week staple for you. Get your wholewheat pasta on the boil, sweat some onion, pepper and grated courgette together, and you’re just a few pine nuts and a fistful of Parmesan away from a delicious dinner. Rosana uses wild garlic too, which is fantastic when it’s in season, but if it isn’t you can easily substitute for another leafy green – baby spinach always works well, and adds some extra nutrients to your bowl.

6. Asparagus, egg and potato salad with tarragon vinaigrette

Asparagus is much loved in this country for its snappy texture and fresh flavour, but it also happens to be incredibly low in calories – basically, it’s perfect for building a quick, healthy meal around. Monica Shaw’s salad is a Niçoise of sorts, combining lightly blanched spears of asparagus with hard-boiled eggs, new potatoes, tomatoes and julienned carrots, before dressing with a simple tarragon vinaigrette. You can even add a little sprinkle of Parmesan for some extra umami if you like. Simple food, fantastic flavours.

7. Padrón pepper, paneer, carrot and quinoa salad in a teriyaki dressing

Deena Kakaya’s salad ticks all the boxes when it comes to flavour, texture and colour. Her homemade teriyaki sauce is incredibly simple and addictive – the sort of thing you’ll find yourself making again and again for all sorts of other dishes. With the sauce bubbling away, she blisters her Padrón peppers and chops the rest of her vegetables, before mixing the whole lot together with some quinoa and silky chunks of paneer. Blissful.

8. Mackerel and brown rice kedgeree

Rachel Walker’s kedgeree makes for a perfect midweek supper – a satisfying mix of brown rice, eggs and fish that is bound to silence even the hungriest of stomachs. Even better, you can have it on the table in as long as it takes to cook the brown rice – start off by getting that on the go, then boil an egg, fry off your onion with some spices, and finish off with your kale and smoked mackerel. Easy peasy.